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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

'Refugees' & Missing Persons
'Refugiados' e Desaparecido
'Réfugiés' ou Déplacés:

Part 1: context

A collection of recent reports, articles and news on the ongoing situation of East Timorese persons who were forcibly relocated to Indonesian West Timor.


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Part 1 up-dated: Feb 9, 2002

NEW = Added to BACK DOOR Website since last Monday's Emailout


Contents:

Part 1: context  [this page]
* Background
* Conditions in the 'refugee' camps
* How many 'refugees' and missing persons?
* How many wish to return to East Timor?

Part 2: calls




Part 1: context


Background

War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity

Sexual & related Violence as a weapon of war  [includes abduction and sexual enslavement of women: 'war prizes' ]

Dec 31 AFP: Anti-riot troops ready in West Timor for closure of refugee camps  News added Jan 1
“The camps will gradually be closed as the government’s aid will halt by the end of December, and the police will take stern measures against those who refuse to leave the camps,” Provincial spokesman Kosapilawan
“Those rioting or provoking violence will be shot on sight. This is to prevent social conflicts from spreading in the province,” East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brigadier General Yacobus Jacki Uli

Dec 31 JP: All E.Timorese refugees must leave camps by Jan. 1; rioters to be shot  News added Dec 31
"In December 1999 only 100,000 people remained in West Timor’s refugee camps. Since then the government had provided them with 400 grams of rice and Rp 1,500 per day for each person. The government had earlier said that it was time the refugees became independent. Now that the government has decided to stop the aid, their refugee status will be withdrawn, and they must be independent and try to survive as other fellow citizens do. ... According to Brig. Gen. Jacobus, the officers would take preventive actions to deal with the refugees. “However, those rioting or provoking violence will be shot on sight. This is to prevent social conflicts from spreading in the province.” " Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

Portuguese:
Dec 3 OTL: A Reconciliação
Reportagem de Dec 18
"É todavia inegável que actualmente o problema maior é a reconciliação da maioria com a parte pró autonomia e o repatriamento de milhares de Timorenses ainda deslocados na Indonésia e que querem voltar. Este regresso pesa demasiado sobre o processo de reconciliação mas não deveria servir como moeda de troca para obter amnistias. Para evitar este perigo são as autoridades indonésias que devem criar as condições para um livre regresso, e a pressão internacional pode acelerar o processo." Observatório Timor Leste

Dec 3 ETO: Reconciliation  Overview added Dec 15
"Unquestionably, the main challenge is the reconciliation of the majority of Timorese with minority pro-autonomy side and repatriation of the thousands who are still displaced in Indonesia and wish to return.  Although their return is a primary objective of the reconciliation process, it should not be used as leverage to secure amnesties. To avert this danger, the Indonesian authorities should ensure conditions are in place permitting the refugees to return freely.  International pressure could accelerate this process." East Timor Observatory

Oct 30 IOM: East Timor - Returns on the Increase  News added Oct 31
"In October, IOM has assisted 3,233 East Timorese refugees to return home, the highest number of returns in a single month since March 2000 when 9,485 East Timorese were assisted to return home. This significant increase can be attributed to the ongoing reconciliation process that has boosted the confidence of refugees as to the situation in East Timor, especially since the successful 30 August elections." Jean Philippe Chauzy, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Spokesperson

Portuguese:
Out 25 OTL: A Indonésia deixa o regresso dos refugiados nas mãos dos dirigentes pró-autonomia
Reportagem de Dec 18
"[refugiados] Os regressos aumentaram bruscamente quando alguns dirigentes que haviam defendido a autonomia na Indonésia decidiram aceitar a independência e voltar para Timor Leste levando consigo um grande número de refugiados. Representam mais de 75% dos repatriamentos desde 14 de Setembro o que evidencia o peso que os chefes de milícias/UNTAS continuam a ter sobre os refugiados em Timor Ocidental. Quanto ao poder indonésio, as suas hesitações e contradições mostram não só a sua falta de vontade de resolver um problema que causou, mas também falta de interesse em esclarecer o passado e evitar os mesmos erros no futuro." Observatório Timor Leste

Oct 25 ETO: Refugees’ repatriation to ETimor in the hands of pro-autonomy leaders  Article added Nov 8
"Returns [of 'refugees'] to East Timor suddenly increased when some leaders, who had hitherto been staunch supporters of autonomy in Indonesia, decided to recognise independence and advocate repatriation to East Timor, taking with them a large number of refugees. Repatriation in these circumstances account for over 75% of the returns since 14 September - clear evidence of the influence that militia/UNTAS leaders still wield over refugees in West Timor. The delays and contradictions on the part of Indonesia illustrate not only lack of will to resolve a problem that it caused itself, but also a lack of interest in clarifying the past and avoiding the same mistakes in the future." East Timor Observatory

Sep 8 ETese NGOs write UNHCR to protest planned withdrawal  Letter added Sep 13
"We write to express our concerns and recommendations regarding the winding down and the closure of the UNHCR operation in East Timor. We understand that UNHCR field offices in Baucau and Maliana are due to be closed by September 31st, and humanitarian assistance for the returnees will cease on the 31stOctober 2001. We believe this reduction is untimely as it is widely expected that returns will increase following the announcement of the result of the elections for a Constituent Assembly in East Timor and continue until at least next year." NGO Forum; Dewan Solidaritas Mahasiswa TL; Yayasan HAK; FOKUPERS; Kadalak Sulimutuk Institute; RENETIL; Jesuit Refugee Service; Oxfam in East Timor.

Sep 3 STL: Bishop Belo invites refugees to return because of peaceful election  News from ETimor added Sep 4
“You have all seen the way the 30 August election was conducted. It was peaceful and calm. Because of that, I appeal to all of you to return home to your country of birth so that you can live peacefully with all of us, ... We will congratulate which party that gets the most votes. Those parties that do not get enough votes must not be disappointed because they will have an opportunity again in four or five years time,” Nobel Peace Laureate Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo

Sep 3 IFET Preliminary Election Observations  Report added Sep 4
" ... approximately one-tenth of the East Timorese population is excluded not only from registration and voting, but from the entire nation-building process. The approximately 80,000 East Timorese people still trapped in refugee camps and elsewhere in West Timor and Indonesia have just as much right as the rest of the compatriots to participate in the development of their soon-to-be independent nation, and we urge all relevant authorities to redouble their efforts to enable them to do so." International Federation for East Timor (IFET)

Aug 29 JRS: Refugees await election outcome  Alert added Sep 1
"As East Timor holds its first election on 30 August, an estimated 10 per cent of its population living in refugee camps in West Timor will not be participating in this process. According to JRS West Timor, some 80,000 refugees remain, ... Many refugees are still expected to return to East Timor. JRS East Timor director, Frank Brennan SJ, said the people in the camps are now waiting for a negotiated settlement between their leaders and an elected government in East Timor. “Generally people seem resigned to waiting until given the word from someone higher up whom they trust that it is time to move,” said Fr Brennan." Jesuit Relief Service

August 2001 LHB: For an Interim Constitution  Article added Aug 30
"As currently planned, the soon-to-be elected constitutional assembly will have a period of only ninety days to draw up East Timor’s first constitution. In doing so, they are supposed to take into consideration the findings of an already-completed constitutional consultation, which took place over forty-five days. This process is going forward despite the fact that ten percent of East Timor’s population is still outside the country terrorized and held as virtual hostages by Indonesian military-backed militia in refugee camps in West Timor." Aderito de Jesus Soares

Aug 28 SMH: To forge a future, Timor needs justice for the past  Article from ETimor added Aug 30
" ... we need to overcome the legacy of the past. The international community should remain conscious of the legacy of 24 years of Indonesian occupation. In particular, it is important to remember the "scorched earth" withdrawal of Indonesian troops from East Timor during September and October 1999. Up to 3,000 died in 1999, untold numbers of women were raped and 500,000 persons displaced - 100,000 are yet to return. Those events live on in the minds of Timorese despite the apparent material progress of the past two years. " Bishop Carlos Belo

Aug 16 Caritas Australia programs 2000 - 2001 - Emergency Relief  Report added Aug 19
"Oecussi is an isolated enclave of East Timor, which is totally surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. ... The people of Oecussi suffered greatly in the violence of 1999, as a consequence of their isolation. Most of the population of 55,000 either fled to West Timor or went into hiding in the hills during the violent militia rampage. ... The people of Oecussi largely live in rural communities, in houses made of wood, palm fronds and grass. These houses were burnt to the ground during the militia violence. Displaced people returned to nothing."  Caritas

Jul 30 Guard: Traumatized E.Timor sex slaves of the militias in W. Timor  Article added Aug 1
"Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of East Timorese women were forced across the border by the Indonesian military and their militia allies in those hectic days of rage after the vote. They became sex slaves of the militias, which still control the refugee camps, and even those who managed to get away are profoundly traumatised. ... Earlier this month, Igidio Manek was arrested, with 22 other militia fighters, by the Indonesian military. However, it was not for his kidnapping and rape of a minor, nor because he is sought by UN prosecutors for his role in the Suai massacre in 1999, but because an Indonesian soldier was killed during rioting by his Laksaur militiamen in the border town of Atambua." Victoria Brittain, Dili

Jun 1 Gabrielson: U.S. Responsibility in the West Timor Refugee Crisis  Report added July 11
"Militias, with their ever-present patrons, the Indonesian military and police, forced the vast majority of the deportees onto crowded lorries, sometimes allowing them to take a few things, other times herding them like livestock at gunpoint, and carted them unceremoniously across the border to West Timor. Mr. Barrus and his family were taken this way, bringing nothing with them, and not even knowing their exact location when they were dumped off the truck. There were no provisions for them upon their arrival: no shelter, no food, no health or sanitary facilities, no land. Nor were the people of West Timor pleased with the sudden influx of hundreds of thousands of displaced people." Curt Gabrielson

Jun 20 DemNow!: Interviews on Refugees, Justice  Interviews added June 21
"If Western officials wanted a truer picture of the world refugee situation, and their own role in exacerbating this crisis, they might go to Indonesian West Timor, where they could more appropriately celebrate world hostage day. There, Indonesia continues to hold tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees as virtual hostages nearly two years after they voted overwhelmingly for independence." Democracy Now! interviews Winston Neil Rondo & Matthew Jardine

Jun 14 CSUCS: Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - East Timor Chapter  Report added June 25
"New legislation being adopted for an independent East Timor will set 18 as the minimum age for recruitment. The reintegration of child soldiers, some as young as 12, who were used by both government and opposition forces during the conflict still presents a major challenge. The abduction and recruitment of children by anti-independence militia for the purposes of indoctrination has been reported." Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Jun 13 ET NGO: Donors’ Conference: Children & Youth  Paper added June 15
"CHILDREN CURRENTLY IN WEST TIMOR / REFUGEE AND DISPLACED CHILDREN
During the conflicts of 1999, many children became the victims of violence, as they were forcefully separated from their families and taken to West Timor or other parts of Indonesia. Up until today their parents don’t know their whereabouts or how they are faring in the camps or in other placements. There are currently more than 400 children in this situation. While IRC and JRS have been working on tracing these children and reuniting them with their families, they are at risk of dwindling funding in the future, requiring that other NGOs and church groups take up the role of working with these families." Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e / The East Timor National NGO Forum

Major Report
31 Jan 2000 KPP HAM's Secret Report on Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor
"Chapter III: The pattern of violation of basic human rights crimes against humanity
III.3 Enforced disappearances
75. Involuntary/enforced disappearances happened after the two options announcement. Civilians who were critical and had divergent political convictions were intimidated, threatened and made to disappear. This enforced disappearance was carried out by militia groups that were thought to obtain assistance from the security apparatus through the means of abduction or capture later to be summarily executed. As an example on 12 April 1999 Koramil Kailako dan Halilintar Militia abducted six residents of Kailako, Bobonaro. The six people were abducted and brought to Koramil Kailako. There they were detained, interrogated, and tortured. The next day they were killed in the house of Manuel Gama. Apart from this case it is not known whether this enforced disappearance ended with murder.
76. In the Investigative Commission record in April and September 1999 there are at least 5 cases of enforced disappearance, that is 3 at Dili, 1 case at Bobonaro, an 1 at Liquica; with 17 people disappeared, 3 people among them “abducted” while they were sheltering at Polsek Liquica after an attack by the BMP militia at the village of Dato, Liquica. The fate of these people has not been confirmed to now, except for one member of the Komnas of Women who is known to be safe. Meanwhile at least 6 cases of abduction were carried out by the militia before the time of the ballot."
Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM)

Major Report
31 Jan 2000 KPP HAM's Secret Report on Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor
"The types of acts and the pattern of crimes against humanity were as follows: ...
VI.3 ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE
Enforced disappearance took place along the lines of the following pattern. First in connection with the recruitment of members of the militia. A number of civilians disappearing was the result of their refusing to be made militia members. Second, the enforced disappearance that happen as an act of making supporters of independence submit. Third, the enforced disappearance towards a number of victims from among university students and supporters of independence was also reported to have happened as a continuation of military activity in places of evacuation. ...
VI.6 ENFORCED MOVEMENT AND EVACUATION
Terror and intimidation before the ballot caused the occurrence of evacuation of the population to places considered safe such as churches and the hills. After the announcement of results enforced movement and evacuation on a large scale, with logistical and transport support from the civil, military and police apparatuses, following a pattern prepared previously. This enforced movement was a further target of various forms of violnce and scorched earth at various places. The enforced movement and evacuation and hindering of refugees returning to their place of abode was carried out through terror and intimidation. Up to now some refugees have still not been able to return. ...
VI.8 RECOMMENDATIONS
To request the Government to facilitate and remove all hindrances and pressures that hinder refugees wanting to return to their place of origin. In this connection UNTRAET is requested to give a guarantee of law and security as soon as they return to the territory of East Timor."
Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM)

Major Report
Apr 25 Suppressed UN report on East Timor destruction
 
"VII. The Major Crimes and the Killing Fields
28. In summary the following violations represented a massive onslaught on the human rights and well-being of the people of East Timor.
d. Forced deportation: It is generally accepted that more than 250,000 East Timorese were transported to Indonesia, most to West Timor. In almost all instances, according to my own enquiries, the Timorese were ordered, not requested or persuaded, to leave their homes. There are persistent reports from refugee camps in West Timor that the use of force has continued to be used to prevent those refugees who desire to return to their villages from doing so.
e. The forced flight from their homes: More than 200,000 East Timorese were compelled, through what should be considered well-founded fears, to flee to the mountains. They were soon to be facing starvation in the conditions of the time. It should be noted that the flight to the mountainous interior occurred during the dry season when there was very little food to be found in the natural environment, especially in the hinterland of Dili."
James Dunn, Crimes investigator for United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), 14 February 2001

Major Report
Apr 20 SMH: James Dunn 'Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor, Jan-Oct 99'

"With the continued forced detention of those East Timorese in refugee camps in West Timor who wish to return to their homeland, one of the most serious crimes against humanity being considered in this report, is in fact still being perpetrated. ... A solution to the position of East Timorese refugees in West Timor is a matter of considerable importance, since those detained against their will remain victims of a serious crime. Therefore, the efforts of UNTAET’s Transitional Administrator and UNHCR to resolve this issue deserve stronger support from the international community."
James Dunn, Crimes investigator for United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), 14 February 2001

Mar 10 AU: East Timor's children of the enemy  Article
"A CHILD of the new nation of East Timor, five-month-old Rai, is much loved by his mother. He is one of the first generation born free, yet his past will imprison him. His mother is Lorenca Martins, now 23, a wistful East Timorese woman with eyes only for her child. His father is Maximu, a militia thug and rapist. Maximu raped Martins in a refugee camp near Atambua, over the border in West Timor, where she was exiled for six months. A member of the notorious Besi Merah Putih gang (Red and White Iron), he first violated her on December 8, 1999, in broad daylight, in the jungle. “It happened to many women (in the camps),” she says. “If they saw a beautiful woman, they just took her.” Shrugging and fidgeting, she explains that she now lives with her cousin and his family on the outskirts of Ermera, a hill town south of Dili." Sian Powell, Dili

Mar 1 NYT: Sexual Violence as Tool of War: Pattern Emerging in East Timor  Article
"Investigators say it has become clear that the crimes of the Indonesian military and the local militias it commanded — opponents of independence — include not only massacres, widespread destruction and mass deportations but also rape and sexual slavery on a wide and possibly systematic scale." Seth Mydans

Feb 7 NRP: Chomsky/Soares: Breaking Free: East Timor's Quest for Independence  Radio program added June 26
"For East Timorese people, independence came with great costs. Refugees are still languishing in camps in West Timor, and though they won the right to autonomy after the elections in October 1999, many people are asking why international agencies such as the United Nations continue to hold decision-making power instead of the East Timorese themselves. On this program, we take a look at intervention in East Timor." National Radio Project

Dec 22 2000 IHT: A Family in East Timor Grieves for a Daughter
"Fate has not been kind to the dos Santos family. They have now lost all three children. The first son died from illness at a young age, the second was brutally murdered in the Suai church massacre - and now their only daughter has been kidnapped, raped and is living as a "wife" of one of the leaders of a militia gang responsible for the killing of her brother." Mark Dodd

Dec 7 2000 CapT: Village Women of East Timor have great hope  News
"Nearly everyone in Ainaro was forced from their homes following the referendum. Many fled to the mountains while others were coerced into refugee camps in Indonesian West Timor. Those who fled took no more than the clothes on their backs, blankets, tarps and cooking pots. In Ainaro, militia members looted and burned, leaving nothing behind. Women were specifically targeted in many ways -- they were separated from husbands and sons, harassed and often raped. In the refugee camps -- which are mostly populated by women and children -- living conditions are terrible, with food shortages, poor sanitation and rampant disease." Jen Laakso

Nov 19 2000 AFP: Scars of vote violence remain real for many East Timor women
"Many of these crimes were carried out with planning, organisation and coordination, ... Soldiers and militias kidnapped women together and shared their victims." Fokupers Report

Tetum:
Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Rekonciliasaun Housi Lei Nia Roman
"Hahalok at sira ne’e kulmina wainhira referendum 30 Agostu 1999 ramata, iha ne’ebe povo Timor Lorosa’e maioria hakotu nia hakarak atu sai housi kolonizasaun no okupasaun ne’ebe at, houdi sai povo ne’ebe ukun rasik an. Milicia pro-integrasaun ho tulun no ordem housi TNI hala’o operasaun bumi hangus (sunu mutuk), ne’ebe populasaun civil barak lori todan, liu-liu sira ne’ebe sira (milicia no TNI) konsidera pro-ukun rasik an. Iha operasaun ne’e, populasaun civil barak sai mutun (vitima), balun mate no feto sira ema viola (perkosa), barak mak sira tortura no obriga atu halai, sunu uma no lelan povu nia riku soin." Aniceto Guterres Lopes, Direktor, Yayasan HAK

Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Reconciliation from a Legal Perspective
"The peak of this oppression occurred after the referendum of August 30, 1999, when an absolute majority of East Timorese society expressed their resolve for freedom from the despicable colonization and occupation practiced by Indonesia. In response, the Indonesian military and their pro-integration militia carried out their scorched earth policy. Countless civilians were victims of murder, rape, and various forms of torture. In addition, the military forced people to flee, burning and looting civilians' property." Aniceto Guterres Lopes, Director, Yayasan HAK

Sept 27 1999 Noam Chomsky: East Timor Retrospective - An overview and lessons  Analysis
"Braving violence and threats, almost the entire population voted, many emerging from hiding to do so. Close to 80% chose independence. Then followed the latest phase of TNI atrocities in an effort to reverse the outcome by slaughter and expulsion, while reducing much of the country to ashes. Within two weeks more than 10,000 might have been killed, according to Bishop Carlos Filipe Belo, the Nobel Peace laureate who was driven from his country under a hail of bullets, his house burned down and the refugees sheltering there dispatched to an uncertain fate." Noam Chomsky


Conditions in the 'refugee' camps

Dec 31 AFP: Anti-riot troops ready in West Timor for closure of refugee camps  News added Jan 1
“The camps will gradually be closed as the government’s aid will halt by the end of December, and the police will take stern measures against those who refuse to leave the camps,” Provincial spokesman Kosapilawan
“Those rioting or provoking violence will be shot on sight. This is to prevent social conflicts from spreading in the province,” East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brigadier General Yacobus Jacki Uli

Dec 31 JP: All E.Timorese refugees must leave camps by Jan. 1; rioters to be shot  News added Dec 31
"According to Brig. Gen. Jacobus, the officers would take preventive actions to deal with the refugees. “However, those rioting or provoking violence will be shot on sight. This is to prevent social conflicts from spreading in the province.” " Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

Portuguese:
Out 25 OTL: A Indonésia deixa o regresso dos refugiados nas mãos dos dirigentes pró-autonomia
Reportagem de Dec 18
"O mais forte destes factores é a dependência dos refugiados dos ‘coordenadores’ de campos. Esta dependência tem raízes nas chefias tradicionais das populações rurais; foi extremada com a criação das milícias; é continuada pela figura de ‘coordenadores’ de campos, interlocutores privilegiados das autoridades indonésias e intermediários na distribuição das ajudas humanitárias. A ajuda internacional atribuída neste quadro só serve para prolongar esta situação. As agências internacionais no terreno são a resposta mais apropriada mas a Indonésia não toma as medidas necessárias ao seu regresso, particularmente o julgamento dos milicianos responsáveis pela violência." Observatório Timor Leste

Oct 25 ETO: Refugees’ repatriation to ETimor in the hands of pro-autonomy leaders  Article added Nov 8
"The most decisive of these factors is the refugees’ dependence on the camp ‘coordinators’. This dependence is rooted in the traditional leadership of the rural communities; it went to extreme limits with the creation of militias, and is now continued by the figure of the camp ‘coordinator’ – the main interlocutor of the Indonesian authorities and intermediary in humanitarian aid distribution. In such circumstances, international assistance only serves to perpetuate the situation. International agencies on the ground are the most appropriate response, but Indonesia is not implementing the measures that have to be taken to ensure their return, particularly in terms of bringing to justice the militiamen responsible for the violence." East Timor Observatory

Sep 12 GLW: West Timor: Jakarta’s militia terrorise refugee camps  Article added Sep 19
“Where are our missing children? We have nothing—no land, no houses, nothing to do, no materials to work with to make an income. The women here are dying from childbirth because they have no money for doctors, there is little food and in some camps little water. We cannot afford to send our children to school or to the doctor.” Women in the refugee camps in Kupang and Atambua

Aug 29 JRS: Refugees await election outcome  Alert added Sep 1
" ... conditions in the camps remain poor. JRS reported increasing levels of refugee deaths especially amongst the very young and the elderly. On average children were succumbing to malaria while the elderly were being afflicted by cholera. They reported that they heard of refugee deaths almost every day they were visiting the camps around Betun and Atambua. ... Some refugees had not received rice or money from the government for four months, while others were receiving regular food supplies from the government (12kg per person per month). ... JRS observed high levels of malnutrition in children with distended stomachs and very thin ankles and wrists.” said Fr Brennan." Jesuit Relief Service

Aug 16 Caritas Australia programs 2000 - 2001 - Emergency Relief  Report added Aug 19
"Most of the returnees had been living in horrendous conditions in refugee camps along the border. The refugees that remain in the camps in West Timor have been intimidated and harassed by militia groups in order to discourage their return to East Timor. They have been misinformed about the situation in East Timor. ... Caritas Australia contributes to the program at the Tasi Tolu transit center which receives refugees when they return to East Timor. ... Many refugees remain in camps in West Timor. Uncertainty amongst these refugees about the situation in East Timor persists as they are subjected to propaganda about conditions in East Timor. Militia leaders consistently threaten refugees with violence if they return to East Timor." Caritas

Jul 22 JRS: Annual Report 2000 E & W Timor  Report added July 22
"Over 250,000 East Timorese refugees fled to or were deported to West Timor in the wake of the post-election violence in East Timor in September 1999. The miserable living conditions of the refugees and their intimidation at the hands of militias who virtually controlled the camps, drew much media attention throughout this year. ... [other refugees] want to return [to East Timor] but are denied security or the conditions for a free and informed choice.
JRS projects in West Timor: JRS set up in West Timor in September 1999. A team of 20 Indonesian nationals worked in the camps, collaborating closely with the local church. JRS did not evacuate with other international agencies when the UNHCR personnel were killed, becoming one of the few international organisations to maintain a presence in the camps." Edi Mulyono SJ, Jesuit Refugee Service Indonesia director

Jun 1 Gabrielson: U.S. Responsibility in the West Timor Refugee Crisis  Report added July 11
"The situation was grim. Militia leaders in close collaboration with Indonesian military units ruled the overcrowded shantytowns. Food and health problems were mounting, and relief organizations were encountering opposition from the military and militias as they tried to meet the needs of the displaced masses. In April 2000, Pamela traveled again to West Timor as guide and translator for a congressional delegation from the U.S.  She was aghast to find the situation scarcely improved. ... the same squalid shantytowns remained. People continued to die from common, curable diseases, and militia big-men still openly controlled the scene." Curt Gabrielson

Jun 20 DemNow!: Interviews on Refugees, Justice  Interviews added June 21
"If Western officials wanted a truer picture of the world refugee situation, and their own role in exacerbating this crisis, they might go to Indonesian West Timor, where they could more appropriately celebrate world hostage day. There, Indonesia continues to hold tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees as virtual hostages nearly two years after they voted overwhelmingly for independence." Democracy Now! interviews Winston Neil Rondo & Matthew Jardine

May 17 ETAN/US: U.S. House of Reps Supports Timor Rights & Reconstruction  Release added May 19
“The Committee deplores the failure of the Indonesian government and security forces to disarm and disband militia groups which have enjoyed close relationships with elements of these forces, and which continue to intimidate refugees, spread misinformation, prevent safe and full access to refugees by international and local humanitarian workers, and threaten the peace and security of East Timor. The Committee is troubled by … reports of sexual enslavement of women and girls; and the separation of East Timorese children from their refugee parents.” House International Relations Committee, U.S.

May 14 IHRC: NZ Foreign Minister Urged To Act On International Tribunal  Release added May 20
"The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Aotearoa New Zealand] to urge him to mobilise international support for an effective international tribunal to try those responsible for mass murder in East Timor. The Committee also wants stronger action to enforce an end to militia violence in the West Timor refugee camps and on the border with East Timor." Indonesia Human Rights Committee

Apr 10 ABC: Rondo: Children dying in refugee camps in West Timor  Interview added Apr 11
"The greater proportion of the refugees in West Timor live in a crisis situation. No freedom, no hope and also no future. ... There’s just one way to come in or get out from the camp and the militia have full power. They can control all civilians and all the aid that you give to the refugees. ... a lot of violence goes on in the camps and people from outside don’t know about it. Rape, looting, sexual harassment. ... the militia manipulate the information about the real situation in East Timor. They have newsletters, they have many ways to manipulate the information." Winston Rondo, General Secretary of the Centre for Internally Displaced Peoples Service in West Timor

Apr 9 JRS: West Timor: Refugees dying from diarrhoea  Alert from WTimor added Apr 14
“People are still dying. It’s the rainy season, the camps are muddy, sanitation is poor, there’s no running water, and malnutrition is rife, ... Since all the foreign aid workers left, there is no-one looking after them any more. Babies are born tiny and undersized, because their mothers are so undernourished.” Fr Mulyono, West Timor

Apr 6 UN-CHR: Women and HR report  Report added Apr 9
"Over one year after violence erupted in East Timor (see East Timor, above), over 100,000 East Timorese refugeesremain in West Timor, most under pro-Indonesian militia control, where violence, including sexual assault, by militia is common. There have also been numerous, credible reports that women are used as forced labourers and sex slaves. ... The Government of Indonesia has failed to disarm and disband the militia, or to investigate reports of sexual assault and hold the perpetrators accountable." Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy

Mar 22 JRS: Refugees Going Hungry  Briefing
"The refugees in the camps are suffering great hunger. They have had no support from local aid groups since January and from international agencies since September last year, when they withdrew following the killing of UNHCR personnel by militias,” Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) West Timor

Jan 26 UN: UK Statement to UN Security Council  Statement
"That the militias are still active in the camps in West Timor is appalling. No less worrying is the fact thatlarge numbers of genuine refugees continue to live in such difficult conditions in the camps and are subject to serious intimidation, as the Security Council mission saw for itself. This problem must now be properly addressed, not only because it has direct implications for the security of East Timor and the future structure of the United Nations presence in the territory, but also on the obvious grounds of pressing humanitarian need." Stewart Eldon, United Kingdom Deputy Permanent Representative


How many 'refugees' and missing persons?

Aug 29 JRS: Refugees await election outcome  Alert added Sep 1
"As East Timor holds its first election on 30 August, an estimated 10 per cent of its population living in refugee camps in West Timor will not be participating in this process. According to JRS West Timor, some 80,000 refugees remain ... " Jesuit Relief Service

Aug 1 TP: Graves of two polytechnic students exhumed  News from ETimor added Aug 2
“On that day, [20 May 1999] TNI from the Rajawali-Batallion 744 together with Aitarak militia men surrounded our campus in Hera. Those who were physically strong managed to escape by running away fast. Estevo and Agustinho, however, were not lucky, ... They were both warriors for Timor Lorosae’s freedom. We will always remember them,” Inacio Moreira, former lecturer, Hera Polytechnic

Jul 19 Correspondence with U.S. Embassy on Refugee Registration  Letter added July 21
"Indonesia asserts that the final registration results indicate over 295,000 refugees are in West Timor; this number is at least three times that of the estimates of the United Nations, local NGOs, and East Timorese leaders. The Indonesian government attempted to explain the large figure by claiming it included Indonesian military, police, and civil servants formerly stationed in East Timor. However, by the government’s own numbers, just over 20,000 people are in these categories." Karen Orenstein, East Timor Action Network; Jana Mason, Policy Analyst/Congressional Liaison, U.S. Committee for Refugees; Kurt Biddle, Indonesia Human Rights Network; Mubarak Awad, Nonviolence International

Portuguese:
Jul 2 OTL: Refugiados; um recenseamento inútil e perigoso  Report added July 11
"Não se sabe quantos Timorenses, deslocados ou refugiados, continuam na Indonésia em campos controlados pelas milícias, mas para pôr fim ao seu sofrimento é preciso que eles possam escolher livremente se querem voltar para Timor Leste ou ser reinstalados na Indonésia. Cerca de 250.000 Timorenses foram levados para Timor Ocidental em Setembro de 1999 dos quais 160.000 regressaram até Março de 2000, mas a Indonésia diz ter registado 134.000 refugiados em Março 2000. Número que as Nações Unidas (NU) não aceitam." Observatório Timor Leste

Jul 2 ETO: Refugee registration: futile and dangerous  Report added July 11
"It is not known how many Timorese, displaced or refugees, are still in Indonesia confined to camps controlled by former militias. To put an end to their suffering, they must be given the chance to choose freely whether they want to return to East Timor or remain and be resettled in Indonesia. In September 1999, they numbered approximately 250,000. Although 160,000 had gone back to East Timor by March 2000, Indonesia claims that to have registered 134,000 refugees in March 2000. The UN does not accept this figure." East Timor Observatory

French:
jui 2 OTO: Réfugiés : un recensement inutile et dangereux  Report added July 11
"On ne sait pas combien de Timorais, déplacés ou réfugiés, se trouvent encore en Indonésie dans des camps contrôlés par les ex-miliciens. Pour que cessent leurs souffrances, il faut qu’ils puissent choisir librement entre retourner au Timor Oriental ou être réinstallés en Indonésie. Ils étaient environ 250 000 en septembre 1999. En mars 2000, 160 000 étaient rentrés chez eux mais, à cette même date, l’Indonésie dit en avoir recensé 134 000, un chiffre que les Nations Unies (NU) rejettent." Observatoire Timor-Oriental

Jun 8 OCHA Consolidated Situation Report No. 27  Report added June 10
"UNTAET, UNHCR and the CNRT have just completed a two-month community-by-community survey in East Timor, which indicates that 84,707 persons are missing." UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

May 16 SBS: See No Evil  TV documentary added May 18
"We found numerous sites where they‘d gunned them down. Forensic evidence pointing to the massacre and the involvement of the [Indonesian] military. But only one killing here was added to the official death toll - a small child found buried in the rubble. There was clear evidence indicating that a large massacre had occurred. ... Today, UN investigators privately acknowledge what Plunkett has claimed - that up to 300 people were killed around Maliana." Captain Andrew Plunkett, Australian Army senior military intelligence officer in charge of gathering evidence of atrocities committed post-ballot

Mar 8 FEER: Searching For Closure: the fate of those missing in ETimor  Article
"In the meantime, the Missing Persons Unit is struggling to make itself better known in East Timor. Its three officials are fanning out through East Timor to encourage local government administrators and village leaders to gather material to plug into the database. In early February, the unit received a major boost when Bishop Belo, the Catholic church's leading official in East Timor, endorsed its work and requested that all church officials in East Timor cooperate." Stewart Taggart

Portuguese:
Jan 20 OTL: Refugiados: Quantos são? Quantos querem voltar para Timor Leste?  Report added Feb 6
"Interesses políticos e económicos impedem uma contagem credível dos refugiados. As autoridades indonésias aceitaram a presença das agências humanitárias internacionais para receber as ajudas, mas pouco fizeram para o desmantelamento das milícias, que continuam a controlar os refugiados e os regressos, em estreita colaboração com militares indonésios e partilhando com eles os direitos de passagem exigidos aos que querem voltar para Timor Leste." Observatório Timor Leste

Jan 20 ETO: Refugees: How many? How many want to return to East Timor?  Report added Feb 6
"Political and financial interests are getting in the way of a credible census of the refugees. While the Indonesian authorities agreed to the presence of international humanitarian agencies in order to receive their aid, Jakarta has done little to disband the militia gangs that still control the refugees and repatriation, and collaborate closely with Indonesian soldiers, sharing with them the rights of passage demanded from those wishing to return to East Timor." East Timor Observatory

French:
jan 20 OTO: Réfugiés : Combien sont-ils ? Combien veulent retourner au Timor Oriental ?  Report added June 24
"Des intérêts politiques et économiques empêchent un comptage crédible des réfugiés. Les autorités indonésiennes ont accepté la présence des agences d’aide internationales pour recevoir de l’aide, mais n’ont rien fait pour le démantèlement des milices qui contrôlent les réfugiés et les retours en étroite collaboration avec les militaires indonésiens avec lesquels elles partagent les droits de passage exigés à ceux qui veulent retourner." Observatoire Timor-Oriental

Jan 15 MSF: Refugees in Indonesia under-reported  Press release
"hundreds of thousands of East Timorese remain trapped in West Timor after fleeing organized militia attacks in the wake of East Timor's vote for independence." Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders]


How many 'refugees' wish to return to East Timor

Includes info on the Refugee Registration sham

Jan 30 MFAC: Horta Addresses UN Security Council  Release added Jan 31
"There are still some 40,000 to 70,000 East Timorese refugees living in refugee camps in West Timor. There are many reasons why the refugees have not yet returned to their homeland. I agree with Mr. de Mello’s assessment that this reluctance to return is due to an ongoing campaign of misinformation and intimidation in the camps, as well as, and perhaps more importantly, economic concerns. Those who have returned to East Timor tell of wild rumours circulating in the camps about how refugees who have returned to their villages have been tortured or even killed. To counter this, various agencies have instigated a number of “come-and-see” visits from the refugee camps. In addition, the Swiss-funded Fondation Hirondelle began daily language broadcasts on Radio UNTAET, which are re-broadcast on the Indonesian State?s radio network in West Timor. This helps to provide accurate information to the refugees on the conditions in East Timor." Dr Jose Ramos-Horta is Senior Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Second Transitional Government East Timor

Bahasa Indonesia/Malay:
Okt 01 BLH: Sebuah Tinjauan tentang Komisi untuk Penerimaan, Kebenaran, dan Rekonsiliasi
Laporan ditambahkan tanggal 9 Febuari 2002
"Belakangan, ada sedikit pemahaman lapis bawah tentang KPKR – khususnya di antara pengungsi yang masih di Timor Barat. Seperti diakui Pat Walsh, “Ada keperluan akan informasi umum dan pendidikan mengenai prosesnya. Terjadi kekosongan informasi pada sisi lain perbatasan.” KPKR juga akan menjamin bahwa semua sektor masyarakat Timor Lorosa’e sadar mengenai tujuan dan
alasannya kalau komisi ini berharap untuk menarik partisipasi yang berarti dari mereka dan berdampak nyata pada rekonsiliasi." La'o Hamutuk: Institut Pemantau dan Analisis Rekonstruksi Timor Timur

October 2001 LHB: Commission for Reception, Truth & Reconciliation  Overview added Nov 9
" ... one of the underlying ideas of the Commission is to provide an incentive for refugees in West Timor to return home. Many of them are militia members who fear reprisals when they return to their communities. ... Currently, there is little grassroots understanding of the CRTR and its mandate - especially among the refugees remaining in West Timor. ... If the CRTR is to attract refugees in West Timor to return, it will need cooperation from higher-level militia members who control the movement of the refugees." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Oct 30 IOM: East Timor - Returns on the Increase  News added Oct 31
"In October, IOM has assisted 3,233 East Timorese refugees to return home, the highest number of returns in a single month since March 2000 when 9,485 East Timorese were assisted to return home. This significant increase can be attributed to the ongoing reconciliation process that has boosted the confidence of refugees as to the situation in East Timor, especially since the successful 30 August elections." Jean Philippe Chauzy, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Spokesperson

Portuguese:
Out 25 OTL: A Indonésia deixa o regresso dos refugiados nas mãos dos dirigentes pró-autonomia
Reportagem de Dec 18
"A ajuda financeira internacional para os refugiados não pode ser atribuída na base dum recenseamento que as próprias autoridades indonésias reconhecem não ter significado. Mas mesmo se os refugiados exprimem livremente a sua vontade de ficar ou ser repatriados, nada permite garantir que essa intenção será respeitada. Quem são e onde estão os que em Junho manifestaram vontade de ser repatriados? ... Muitos factores condicionam os repatriamentos: segurança e condições socio-económicas -saúde, escolas, empregos- em Timor Leste; pagamento pela Indonésia dos salários e pensões a que têm direito os que trabalharam para ela." Observatório Timor Leste

Oct 25 ETO: Refugees’ repatriation to ETimor in the hands of pro-autonomy leaders  Article added Nov 8
"International financial assistance for the refugees cannot be attributed on the basis of a registration exercise that the Indonesian authorities themselves admit was meaningless. However, even if the refugees were able to freely express whether they wished to stay in Indonesia or be repatriated, there would be no guarantee of their choice being respected. Who and where are the refugees who stated last June that they wanted to be repatriated? ... There are many factors impacting on the returns: security conditions and socio-economic concerns (health, schools, employment) in East Timor, Indonesia’s payment of salaries and pensions to those who used to work in its administration in East Timor." East Timor Observatory

Sep 13 AI: Urgent Action - Fear for safety of East Timor refugees  Action added Sep 19
"The Indonesian government organised a registration process on 6 June 2001, and claimed that only two per cent of the refugees wished to return to East Timor. However, the process was not regarded as credible, partly because a political group with militia links was involved in organizing the registration, and also because refugees had no access independent information on which to base their decisions." Amnesty International - Australia

Sep 12 GLW: West Timor: Jakarta’s militia terrorise refugee camps  Article added Sep 19
“The social construction of the camps means that many people are unable to escape. The outer houses surrounding the camps are occupied by the families of the East Timorese TNI, in the next circle live the members of the intelligence service and plain-clothes police, and the next circle is inhabited by militia families. Inside these live the rest of the refugees. It is not possible to pass through the camp to the outside without the knowledge of the camp coordinators.” Jill Hickson, independent film-maker and member of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET)

Sep 8 ETese NGOs write UNHCR to protest planned withdrawal  Letter added Sep 13
" ... it is widely expected that returns will increase following the announcement of the result of the elections for a Constituent Assembly in East Timor and continue until at least next year. Since October 1999 over 183,000 East Timorese refugees have returned from West Timor. By and large these returns have been repatriated safely under the auspices of UNHCR, UNTAET, NGOs, East Timorese groups and communities. There are an estimated 80,000 persons in camps in West Timor and an unknown number in other parts of Indonesia. Most commentators would agree that the majority of these want to return to East Timor at some stage when secure return and repatriation conditions are assured." NGO Forum; Dewan Solidaritas Mahasiswa TL; Yayasan HAK; FOKUPERS; Kadalak Sulimutuk Institute; RENETIL; Jesuit Refugee Service; Oxfam in East Timor.

Aug 29 JRS: Refugees await election outcome  Alert added Sep 1
"Many refugees are still expected to return to East Timor. JRS East Timor director, Frank Brennan SJ, said the people in the camps are now waiting for a negotiated settlement between their leaders and an elected government in East Timor. “Generally people seem resigned to waiting until given the word from someone higher up whom they trust that it is time to move,” said Fr Brennan." Jesuit Relief Service

July 2001 LHB: The United Nations: Aiding or Undermining a Resolution of the Refugee Crisis?  Editorial added July 29
"Nevertheless, the United Nations has failed to reject the registration. In fact, UNTAET participated in an international observer mission, and endorsed the resulting report. ... And while Sergio de Mello has stated that “Given the coercive circumstances the refugees have been living under for almost 20 months, the Transitional Administration will not take the choices made by the refugees as necessarily reflecting their true and definite wishes,” his response has been insufficient and somewhat inconsistent. He has, for example, called the registration “professionally” run." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Jul 19 Correspondence with U.S. Embassy on Refugee Registration  Letter added July 21
"We would also like to express our support for the decision not to give credibility to the severely flawed registration exercise by sending an observer from the United States, and are gratified that the UNHCR and Australia made the same decision. However, given the dire humanitarian conditions the refugees continue to face, ongoing militia control of the camps, and recent validation of the registration by an International Organization of Migration (IOM) led international observer delegation, we feel it is important to continue our discussion with you on this issue." Karen Orenstein, East Timor Action Network; Jana Mason, Policy Analyst/Congressional Liaison, U.S. Committee for Refugees; Kurt Biddle, Indonesia Human Rights Network; Mubarak Awad, Nonviolence International

Jul 17 IANSA: East Timorese Refugees in Militia-Controlled Camps  Article added July 26
"On June 6 and 7, the Indonesian government carried out a sham registration of the refugees in West Timor. ... The final results indicated that over 98 percent of refugees wish to resettle in Indonesia, which contradicts the experience of the U.N., other international and local humanitarian organizations in the West Timor camps. Unless the international community rejects the registration, and the militias are disarmed and disbanded, the plight of Juliana dos Santos and many others will continue." Diane Farsetta, East Timor Action Network

Portuguese:
Jul 2 OTL: Refugiados; um recenseamento inútil e perigoso  Report added July 11
"O recenseamento não atingiu nenhum dos seus objectivos: nem esclareceu o número de refugiados, nem os números dos que querem ficar ou voltar, nem deu a estes últimos a possibilidade de regressar a tempo para a inscrição no recenseamento eleitoral em Timor Leste, nem mesmo favorece a reinstalação na Indonésia visto que não distingue os que querem ficar dos que querem voltar logo que a situação o permita." Observatório Timor Leste

Jul 2 ETO: Refugee registration: futile and dangerous  Report added July 11
"The registration exercise did not achieve any of its stated goals: it did not determine the number of refugees, nor clarify the numbers wishing to stay / to return. It did not enable those wishing to return to get back in time to be included on the electoral roll in East Timor, nor has it facilitated resettlement in Indonesia, as it did not make any distinction between those wanting to live permanently in Indonesia and those just waiting to go back home as soon as the situation permits." East Timor Observatory

French:
jui 2 OTO: Réfugiés : un recensement inutile et dangereux  Report added July 11
"Le recensement n’a atteint aucun de ses objectifs : il n’a précisé ni le nombre des réfugiés, ni le nombre de ceux qui veulent rester ou retourner, ni donné à ces derniers la possibilité de retourner à temps pour s’inscrire sur les listes électorales du Timor Oriental, ni même favorisé la réinstallation en Indonésie vu qu’il ne distingue pas ceux qui veulent rester de ceux qui veulent retourner dès que la situation le permettra." Observatoire Timor-Oriental

Jun 15 ET NGO Forum: Political Transition  Comment added June 18
"Refugees: We know that more than 90% are reported to have said they want to stay in Indonesia. NGOs suggest that there should be an independent evaluation of the validity of this registration process." Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e / The East Timor National NGO Forum

Jun 13 ET NGO: Donors’ Conference: Refugees  Paper added June 15
"A comprehensive and independent evaluation of the recent June 6 registration process must be undertaken before the results are accepted by the international community. In particular, close attention should be paid to the issues of confidentiality and registration of heads of families only. The evaluation should include broad representation from NGOs and church organs." Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e / The East Timor National NGO Forum

Jun 8 RA: Horta calls registration a farce  News added June 9
"Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta says an Indonesian poll this week to determine whether thousands of East Timorese refugees in West Timor want to return to home, is a “sham”. Mr Ramos-Horta says the refugees are too afraid of being kidnapped, murdered and raped by pro-Indonesian gangs to say they want to go home." Radio Australia

Jun 8 UMNS: Refugees in West Timor face critical conditions  News added June 10
"Rondo [Centre for Internally Displaced People’s Services in WTimor] believes churches can make a difference in the crisis by advocating for action. He and the East Timor Action Network, which sponsored his U.S. speaking tour, are calling for:
· Pressure from the U.S. and international community on the Indonesian government to disarm and disband the militias.
· Support for an international tribunal on crimes against humanity committed in East Timor.
· Creation of a credible refugee registration process with significant international participation and oversight.
· Adoption of a complete ban on weapons sales, training and support for the Indonesian military by the United States until these issues have been resolved." United Methodist News Service

Jun 8 JRS: Timor alert  Alert added June 9
"Preparation for the registration [of refugees in WTimor] was a failure. The limited time, the lack of non-partisan people to spell out the consequences of both choices to the refugees, the lack of information material, all contributed to this. The only explanations were given by the camp leaders or UNTAS (militia-linked political organisation). Many people do not understand what their decision means," Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in West Timor.

Jun 7 SMH: Fears over returning East Timor refugees  News added June 9
"Their presence in the camps would be terrifying. They have been trying to keep the refugees in the camps as one of their main political objectives. ... If, after the census, those who want to come back are not provided with the means, they will be more vulnerable than ever and exposed to those who have power in the camps, the militias." Mr Joaquim Fonseca, East Timorese human rights foundation Yayasan-Hak

Jun 7 ETAN and CIS urge UN to reject sham refugee registration in West Timor  Petition added Jun 8
"the refugee registration process conducted by Indonesia this week must be soundly rejected. The United Nations and the international community have accepted Indonesia’s hollow promises and dangerous charades too many times and left the East Timorese people to bear the bloody consequences. This time, they must do better." ETAN & CIS [the Centre for Internally Displaced Peoples Service in West Timor]

May 23 Rondo: East Timor's Refugees: the Growing Crisis  Event added May 24
"Indonesian plans for refugee registration on June 6 by military and militia-associated groups will put the refugees in grave danger. ... Mr. Rondo and CIS are currently working to ensure the refugee registration process scheduled for June 2001 allows refugees to choose between repatriation to East Timor and resettlement within Indonesian freely and without intimidation. Concerns include the prominent role of the Indonesian military and militia in the process."

Portuguese:
Jan 20 OTL: Refugiados: Quantos são? Quantos querem voltar para Timor Leste?  Report added Feb 6
"A permanência na Indonésia dum grande número de refugiados, pode servir para vários fins, e há várias maneiras, além da violência física das milícias, para os reter: falsas informações sobre as condições de acolhimento em Timor Leste; o não pagamento das pensões ou o bloqueio das contas bancárias; a separação das famílias." Observatório Timor Leste

Jan 20 ETO: Refugees: How many? How many want to return to East Timor?  Report added Feb 6
"The continuing presence of large numbers of refugees can serve various purposes, and there are several ways, apart from the physical violence practiced by the militias, to keep refugees in West Timor: disinformation about how returnees are received back in East Timor; non-payment of retirement pensions, blocking bank accounts; separating families." East Timor Observatory

French:
jan 20 OTO: Réfugiés : Combien sont-ils ? Combien veulent retourner au Timor Oriental ?  Report added June 24
"Un grand nombre de réfugiés peut servir à des fins politiques et, en plus de la violence des milices, il y a plusieurs façons de les retenir : de fausses informations sur les conditions d’accueil au Timor Oriental ; le non-paiement des retraites ou le blocage des comptes en banque ; la séparation des familles." Observatoire Timor-Oriental

Jan 6 AFP: Bishops say many East Timorese refugees want to go home  News
"We have the impression that many of the refugees want to go back to East Timor ... We reaffirm our support for efforts by the Indonesian government to provide security for the refugees, to facilitate their return and to monitor anyone who is exploiting the refugees' suffering for their political and economic benefits" joint statement by Timorese Bishops Carlos Ximenes Belo, Mario do Carmo Lemos, [ETimor] Petrus Turang and Pain Ratu [WTimor]


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